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Old 12-05-2011, 07:46 PM   #1
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Airstream MH for FT?

Until I saw one this summer at the factory, I didn't know Airstream ever made a motorhome. Recently I started researching them, and came across this photo series Fred's Airstream Archives @ ViewRVs.com - 1994 Airstream Classic 360 Diesel Motorhome 36' Motorhome (F) which I showed to DW. She really likes the looks, so I'm continuing the research.

From one of the other threads here, it sounds like the MH has less storage than a TT. If true, that could be a deal-breaker, as DW is already concerned about the lack of storage space in an Airstream compared to other MH coaches that we've seen. For comparison, we're looking at 30-35' Classics in the late 90's to early 00's range.

From my point of view, what are the mechanical issues that I would need to be concerned about? Anything different than, say, a Foretravel of the same era? What engine(s) might I find in the DP coaches? I have seen some gassers, but if we're going to go with a MH I want a DP.

DW wants a wide-body coach for sure. She would prefer a slide, but can live without one. I'd rather not have a slide (something else to cause that foul four-letter word that starts with "w").

Finally, it sounds like there coaches are pretty rare. Is that reflected in the price, or are they priced similarly to a Foretravel of the same age? I keep using the Foretravel as a comparison because that seems to be at the top of our "possible" list right now.

Please share your wisdom. Both of us like Airstreams (even though neither one of us has ever owned one), and if our final choice came down to an Airstream motor home or an Airstream travel trailer I think we'd both be quite happy.
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:23 PM   #2
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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I can speak for the Classic Motorhomes, manufactured as Argosy's from '74 through '78, beginning in 1979 is when the Airstream motorhomes began being manufactured. Through 89 or 90, all were manufactured on the Chevy P-30 Heavy Duty chassis, mainly with the Chevy big-block 454cid (7.4 litre) all with a 4 barrel carb, until 1989 at some point, Chevy began installing Throttle Body fuel injection (think carb with one fuel injector).
Sometime in early nineties, Airstream began manufacturing a wide body diesel pusher. I believe one of the wide-bodies aluminum were ever manufactured with a slide, and without a doubt, NONE of the Chevy P-30 chassis were manufactured with a slide, more than likely due to chassis GVW weight restrictions on the P-30.
After 1993, Airstream began manufacturing fiberglass clad models. Not too familiar with any of these, but sure you can find tons of information about them here on the forum.
In my opinion, if you want an Airstream, and want that classic Aluminum 'look' of an Airstream, the Classic motorhome is the way to go.
Yes, you are looking at a 20 years or older coach, and the inherent problems with such a beast.
But, talk with any of the new coach owners out on the road, NONE of them are without problems. Believe DadsToy spoke with someone with a diesel pusher, that was less than 2 years old, who had just spent 10K on engine repairs.
If you do decided that there is enough storage in the Classic, there are some things to look for.
Mechanicals, suspension (airbags), engine, drivetrain, transmission being the most obvious. As well, be sure to pay attention to the DOT number listed on all tires. Last four digits on the tires refer to the week of the year manufactured, and the year of manufacture. 1005 would be the 10 week of the year, 05 being year 2005.
All of the 345's (highest # of units manufactured by Airstream) require 9 tires, 310, 300 and 280's all have 7 tires, all including the spare. Replacements of tires can get costly if all have to be replaced (wish I had known about this BEFORE my purchase).
Any other thoughts or questions, feel free to Private Message me, or ask here, as others will be sure to offer their opinions as well.
There used to be a nationwide Craigslist search engine, but I can't remember it's URL at the moment.
Honestly, I had driven up to 5 1/2 hours away to look at a Classic Motorhome, but ended up finding one 3 1/2 miles away from my home here in Saint Petersburg, FL, so you never know where one may be.
In fact, I just saw a 310 at a RV park today when I went with a buddy to tow his SOB back to his house for the weekend.
Good Luck, Derek
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:39 PM   #3
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Found it! This is the URL to search each and every Craigslist. Good luck.
Derek

SearchTempest - The EASY way to search Craigslist
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:41 PM   #4
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Everyone's right with their opinion, but that coach is the last of the line; a great engine and the Allison transmission. You've got to decide if you're an Airstream type of guy, and by that I mean you've got to get to know the coach, because most mechanics have clue zero about them, even though all heavy truck outlets have no problem with the mechanicals.. Yes, your S.O. will have to deal with far less storage than the basement coaches have. Nothing wrong with Foretravels, they are great coaches, but they don't have that wowie zowie sort of look as they're heading down the highway.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:52 PM   #5
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Thanks for the information. Our budget is such that any MH we buy will have some years of "experience" attached to it, and we're prepared for that. Crazeevw, let's see if I've got this right. If I look at a 90-93 coach, I can get it as a DP with the aluminum skin that says "Airstream" and it will be a wide body with no slide. After 93, it will have a fiberglass skin.

What's the significance of the numbers (345, 310, etc.)? Is it the length (345 = 34.5'), the GW (345 = 34,500 GVW), or something else? From your tire counts, the 345 has a tag axle, which would more likely mean 345 = 34,500 lbs rather than 34.5' in length.

As you can tell, I'm still learning Airstream names. If I've got this right, the Classic MH looks like an Airstream TT (with a windshield, headlights, etc.) while the Land Yacht looks (somewhat) like a Grand Villa (sloped nose, flat sides). The newer coaches are the big boxes (flat front and sides).

The mechanicals (engine, radiators, air bags, etc.) sound like the are pretty much the same for all of the coaches that we're talking about; no special areas that are trouble spots. One concern that I have in this area is the engine. Some coaches of this era used Detroit Diesel 2-cycle engines, while others used Cat or Cummins 4-cycle engines. What did Airstream use in the early 90's?

Should I take this (or have a moderator take it) to the Classic subforum?
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:27 PM   #6
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Hi,
Ok, as far as the numbers on the Classic Airstream motorhomes go, 280, 28 feet. 300, 30 feet. 310, 31 feet. 345, 34 and a half feet long. And I could only wish my 345 had the GVW rating of 34,500. Mine is only 16,500, and the rig empty is 'claimed' to weigh 14400 pounds. No truck scales local for me, closest one is 45 minutes away, so at the moment, until I can make it to an Airstream Rally, or the scales, I'm counting on my rig weighing more than 14,400.
The Diesel pushers were made after 93 from what I'm gathering. Check Freds Airstream site for more info. The DP were widebody, no slides available, and still had the familiar aluminum Airstream appearance
Yes, the Classic motorhome is the one that's similar to the TT, Land Yachts, and Cutters are all the Fiberglass units. No idea which one is which, I knew that I wanted the aluminum, and wasn't going to settle for anything else.
While I was stubborn on that point, I also knew that I was getting a 23 year old motorhome, and not foolish enough to believe that there weren't problems.
If you are handy with tools, and can do some minor repairs, HELL even better, major repairs, this is the one for you.
I'll also say, finding the Classic Airstream motorhome can be easy, and can at times be very hard to locate. There is an 85 or 84 in Utah, that's listed on Campingworld.com. Its appears to be in great shape, exterior and interior. If you've got any other questions, feel free to PM me.
Thanks, Derek
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:38 PM   #7
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We've been FT in a 1989 345 MH for 4 years now. There are a lot of windows to address in the winter. There are 2 adults and 3 dogs living in it. Here is a link to our winter living thread.
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:26 PM   #8
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Smile 1994 360 Classic Diesel Pusher

This 360 Classic pusher is mine. It is very nice inside and outside. Totally redone. Very few exist and most have been abused. I am considering putting this up for sale. I am by myself and do not need something this large.

Any comments, you can call 817-371-0909 or Email: bjostrand@applsys.com
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Old 01-22-2016, 12:36 AM   #9
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This is an older thread but thought I would respond since I have a 97 wide body diesel pusher, fiberglass body. Just relocated cross country and lived on it for over 3 months. Came with a washer/dryer, and fully optioned including the larger 275hp Cummins. It has a vast amount of basement storage and the middle compartment connects to the opposite side. Also has a luggage rack where I tied my ladder up there and it rode just fine. Averaged about 11mpg towing a Jeep also.

Only problem on the whole trip was a flat tire on the right front. Should have replaced them same time I replaced the rear and that never would have happened. Because I just bought it in April 2015, it has never been in winter weather. Turned out the gas furnace had never been used since new and required a new computer board to function. Was not impressed with the water dryer and later found out the ventless dryers are useless. Can run all day and still got wet underwear

Bottom line...I love mine and can not wait to get back on the road with it when the weather warms.
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Old 06-05-2016, 05:44 AM   #10
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2003 39' Land Yacht XL 330 hp w/2slides
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Did you ever get your Airstream motorhome? We will be selling our COMPLETELY remodelled 2001 A/S LandYacht 396 XL soon. Fulltimed in it and there's gobs of storage!
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Old 10-22-2016, 05:54 PM   #11
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2010 25' FB Flying Cloud
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2000 Landyacht 30

I have a similar dilemma. I currently have a '98 34' Excella and a 2010 25FB TT. I am considering a motor home and was wondering about the 2000 Landyacht 30:

http://www.rvtrader.com/dealers/Tosc...T-30-119183586

I am relocating from northern California to South Carolina and am considering driving the MH coast to coast. I am used to hauling around the TT's, but zero with a MH.

Is this a reliable rig design? I have been unable to find information on experiences with this unit. How does it handle? Can my SO likely handle some driving? Hopefully someone here can enlighten me!
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Old 10-22-2016, 05:59 PM   #12
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1998 34' Excella 1000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CodyJ49 View Post
Did you ever get your Airstream motorhome? We will be selling our COMPLETELY remodelled 2001 A/S LandYacht 396 XL soon. Fulltimed in it and there's gobs of storage!
Interesting! If the unit was in California I might be interested. We are moving to Greenville SC...
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Old 10-23-2016, 07:58 AM   #13
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2003 39' Land Yacht XL 330 hp w/2slides
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Sorry, our lovely lady was sold...and in SC, no less! We had a 2002--not 01--purchased new and full timed for 12 years. A diesel-pusher Cat engine with Allison trans and 160,000 miles that we had completely remodeled. Only the interior got tired, the box and mechanicals were GREAT. The biggest advantage to our 396XL (39') over other DP Fiberglas coaches? It was built by AIRSTREAM! Wonderful quality and attention to detail. Tons of storage, too. IMO, you shouldn't be led astray by those who only like "classics," unless "how cool it looks going down the road" is of primary importance to you. Full timing is a different lifestyle, and you should go for comfort and quality. There aren't many of the DPs around from the early 2000's, since the last model year was '06. (Avoid that year; all-electric models were problematic.). Do your research and send me a PM, if you'd like. Good luck!
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Old 10-23-2016, 08:28 AM   #14
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Interesting old thread. Before we bought our 1994 Land Yacht 35 foot rear engine diesel pusher in 2004, we too looked for the Aluminum Airstream motor home. We did find one that was the shape of our 94 Land Yacht, but it was a gas powered 36 footer with a tag axle. Front engine 36 feet long used all it's power just to move itself, nothing left for a Toad or a trailer.
We've seen very few of the earlier body style Airstreams with diesel power.
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